Maintaining the Identities of First Nations

Misconceptions of Indian Wealth

Cell Phone Tower

As Michael Connolly explained to us during his lecture as he quoted Justice John Marshall, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” When the American public uses representations of Indians to justify interference into their economic affairs, what is actually happening is an encroachment on the sovereignty of these people. Attempts to tax casino revenue and other forms of income for tribes gives state governments power they should not have over a political entity. So as Indian communities continue to live outside of these representations by finding ways to become economically independent, they are able to achieve the economic sovereignty that will allow them to be truly independent from state and government control.
economic success stories:
Another way that Native Americans have maintained an identity outside of the stereotypes of the ‘rich Indian’ is that they have found financially successful ways to use their resources and sovereignty. Although some of their choices might be surprising to an outsider, the fact is that Indians making their own decisions about what happens on their land and how they generate revenue is exercising their sovereignty. Whether it is using their lands to build a casino, allowing a garbage incinerator to be built there, or investing in a wind turbine project to generate electricity, Native Americans are finding ways to be economically successful in their circumstances.
Solar Panels
tribal digital village
One example of a group of tribes that has successfully found a way to meet
the needs of its members through an economic enterprise is the tribal digital village
that was created to provide internet access to the reservations in southern California.
This project began with a grant from the government, and is now almost self sustaining
because of the subscriptions of individuals on each of the reservations.